Bebop Scales

What Are Bebop Scales?

Bebop scales are usually played in bebop. Contrary to the heptatonic scales (seven pitches per octave) they contain eight notes (octatonic scales) including chromaticisms (chromatic passing tones). They are derived for the most of them from modes of the major scale but also from the harmonic minor and melodic minor scales.

Notice that there isn’t just one Bebop Scale, but a lot of them. What we call «BeBop Scales» is a concept and not a particular scale. The principle of bebop concept is to insert an extra note (passing tone), into an existing scale/mode as major, dominant, Dorian, etc, thus giving a lot of possibilities.

The bebop scales presented in this website  represent the most popular, don't hesitate to built your own.

Bebop Scales From The Diatonic Major Scale :

Formula is 1-2-3-4-5-#5-6-7. This is the major scale including a passing tone (#5) between the fifth and the sixth.

Formula is 1-2-b3-3-4-5-6-b7. Compared to the Dorian mode this scale has an additional note, a major third,  between the minor third (b3) and the fourth. 

Formula is 1-2-3-4-5-6-b7-7. This is the Mixolydian mode including a major seventh.

Formula is 1-b2-b3-4-b5-5-b6-b7. It has an additional fifth between the flat fifth (b5) and the minor sixth (b6).

Formula is 1-b2-3-4-5-b6-b7-7. This scale (also referred to as Altered Bebop) is derived from the fifth mode of the harmonic scale, the Phrygian dominant mode.

Other Bebop Scales

Formula is : 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-7 . This scale has a chromatic passing tone (b7) between the minor sixth (b6) and the major seventh (7).

Formula is : 1-2-b3-4-5-#5-6-7. The melodic minor bebop scale is derived from the ascending form of the melodic minor scale, it has a chromatic passing tone between the 5th and 6th notes.